The Galleria Palatina is a museum located in the Palazzo Pitti in Florence. The collection consists mainly of masterpieces from the late Renaissance and later periods. Most of them come from the private collections of the Medici‘s and the Lorena‘s.
Galleria Palatina Florence
Address, opening hours and entrance fee
Address: Piazza de’ Pitti, 1 – 50125 Florence. Tel.: +39 055 294883. Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 8.15 am to 6.50 pm. Closed: 1 January, 1 May, 25 December. Admission: 8,50 Euro (discount: 4,25 Euro).
Cosimo de’ Medici began in 1620 with the purchase of the first works of art for the Pitti Palace collection. The collection was expanded by the later Grand Dukes of the houses of Medici and Lorraine.
In 1828, Leopold I of Lorraine opened the museum under the name Galleria Palatina.
The works of art were bought directly by the families, but sometimes came into their possession through inheritance. The last duchess of Urbino, Vittoria della Rovere, wife of Ferdinando II de’ Medici, left a number of paintings by Titian and Rubens.
The paintings themselves are still displayed the same way they were exhibited by the families themselves. This was not done chronologically or thematically, as is usually the case in a museum. Often the size of a painting, or the extent to which the colors matched the furniture, were deciding factors on where to put up the works of art.
The 28 rooms all have names referring to mythology.
The Hall of Prometheus (Sala di Prometeo)
The “Madonna with Child” (1452) by Filippo Lippi is particularly striking in this room.
The Room of Jupiter’s Education
The Sala dell’Educazione di Giove contains a Caravaggio, the “Sleeping Cupid” (1608), painted by the artist while he had fled to the island of Malta because he was thought to have killed someone in Rome. Caravaggio painted the boy in such a way that an American doctor wrote an article about it with the thesis that he would have suffered from Still’s disease.
Another striking painting is “Judith with the Head of Holofernes”. The severed head is a self-portrait of the painter, Cristofano Allori, while his girlfriend modeled for Judith and the girlfriend’s mother posed as the watching servant. The painter made three different versions of this work. One of them is in a private collection and the other one can be seen in the Queen’s Gallery in London. Allori (1577-1621) lived and died in Florence. He learned his craft from his father, the mannerist painter Alessandro Allori.
The Hall of the Ilyad
The Sala dell’Iliade has a number of works by Titian as well as a “Pregnant Woman” painted by Raphael. There are also two paintings by Artemisia Gentileschi, one of the few female painters of the Renaissance period.
The Hall of Saturn
In the Sala di Saturno there are a number of “Madonna”‘s and other portraits by Raphael, including the “Portrait of Maddalena Strozzi Doni”. Perugino‘s “Descent from the Cross” and “Mary Magdalene” are also displayed in this room.
The Hall of Jupiter
In the Sala di Giove there is also a famous painting by Raphaël, La Velata (“The Veiled Woman”). Probably his Roman mistress, who would also have served as a model for his even more famous “La Fornarina”, posed for this painting. The latter work can be seen in the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Antica in Rome.
Rubens, Perugino and Andrea del Sarto are also represented in this room.
The Room of Mars
Of Rubens‘ paintings in the Sala di Marte, the most striking is the enormous “The Consequences of the War”, a canvas that he painted for his friend Sustermans (in turn a beloved artist of the royal family of Savoy) when it looked as if the Low Countries would be involved in a war.
The Hall of Apollo
The Sala di Apollo is dedicated to, among others, Titian (“Portrait of an Unknown Lord” and “Mary Magdalene”) and Andrea del Sarto (“The Holy Family” and “Descent from the Cross”).
The Hall of Venus
The Sala di Venere is named after a neo-classical statue by Canova (1810). When Napoleon had another “Venus” (from the time of the Medici‘s) brought to Paris, he commissioned the artist to make a new version.
There are also two paintings by Titian (“The Concert” and “Portrait of Julius II”) in this room. The “Portrait” is a copy of a painting by Raphael that can be seen in the National Gallery in London.
Rubens’ the famous “Return from the Hayfields” can also be seen in this room.